One thousand World Polio Day celebrations is 24 October 2016 target for Rotary clubs

Kalyan-Banerjee-150x180By Kalyan Banerjee, Foundation Trustee Chair

In our work to end polio, we’ve noticed a disturbing ­development: People in many parts of the world think polio no longer exists. Even some of our members, especially younger Rotarians who were born after the development of the polio vaccine, assume that because the disease doesn’t afflict anyone in their country, it’s no longer a problem.

To make everyone aware that this disease is just an airplane ride away, Rotary started World Polio Day, held annually in October. Over the years, we have marked this occasion in various ways. Clubs have held fundraisers or lit up iconic structures in their country with the words “End Polio Now.” More recently, we created live-streamed events featuring prominent public health experts and journalists, along with some of our celebrity ambassadors.

This year, we partnered with the U.S. Centers for ­Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will host a ­live-streamed event at its headquarters in Atlanta. (Taking into ­

PDG Pat gets soaked for PolioPlus

PDG Pat gets soaked for PolioPlus

consideration different time zones, the event will be immediately archived so your club may watch it at a time that is convenient.)

Tom Frieden, the CDC’s director, and Jeffrey Kluger, Time ­magazine’s ­senior editor overseeing science and health ­reporting, will be joined by other public health experts to ­discuss the milestones, ­promising developments, and remaining challenges in the fight to ­eradicate polio.

But we want Rotarians to observe World Polio Day ­everywhere, not just in Atlanta. In fact, we would like to see at least 1,000 World Polio Day events take place throughout the world.

I encourage you to host viewing parties of the ­live-streamed event and organize fundraisers. Be sure to register your event at, where you can also find resources to help make it a success.

Polio is still out there, even though the number of cases has dropped by more than 99.9 percent since 1988. We’re almost there, but until the number of cases reaches zero, polio remains a threat to all of us. World Polio Day offers an opportunity to share that vital message with your club and your community.

About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
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